With sports at the top of the totem pole, the arts are often left in the dust. Many proposals have been brought to the table to create safe environments for both outdoor and indoor sports, yet the arts are left with no guidance.
At the moment, only string instruments can be played indoors with a mask present. Playing wind instruments indoors would violate social distancing and health protocols with confined rooms, no masks, and scattered saliva.
Senior Andrew Bagan, Drum Major, in the Stamford High School band, expressed his deep concern for the upcoming winter. He explained that band class consists of “lots of worksheets while inside”, and that the colder temperatures will only make it more difficult to “go outside and stay far apart” to play new music.
Assistant Drum Major, Sofia Sarak, mentioned that there “haven’t been any band rehearsals with the entire band”. However, the Stamford High band plans to perform a virtual concert using technology to film individual parts at home and merge each part together for a complete recording of the entire band. Although band members would prefer to perform live and on stage together, a virtual concert is a solution that keeps all members of the band and the audience safe.
Over the summer, band members were able to gather outside and practice live with each other under a set of safety guidelines. This was the high school’s annual “Band Camp” run by Brendan Michalko, Stamford High’s Band Director.
Bagan explained that, “band camp was separated by instrument so for an hour at a time, [Michalko] had drums, or clarinets, or flutes to meet Covid-19 group gathering standards”.
Sarak added, “we had to be outside, six feet apart, and only an hour compared to the up to fours hours it was before”. A different approach from camp in previous years, but an opportunity to get back to a piece of normalcy among band members.
With traditional football off of the table for Fall 2020, and a restriction on fans, the Stamford High School band is unable to perform at home football games. The band is also unable to perform in the Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day parades. An unfortunate situation for seniors who did not know that their final live performance would be in their junior year. When the 2020 school year ended abruptly, a virtual banquet was held to honor the seniors for their hard work and achievements. No plan for Senior Knight 2021 has been finalized, but this year’s graduating seniors are staying optimistic and are hoping for an in person Senior Knight.
The Stamford High School band is tackling unprecedented times with innovative solutions, and is taking advantage of warmer temperatures. Although this is not the most favorable year, these Black Knights are true examples of what it means to be Stamford Strong.